Site links to long-term care

A new Internet site has made finding long-term services and information a little easier in California

A new Internet site has made finding long-term services and information a little easier for elderly residents, disabled individuals and their caregivers in California.

Through a public/private partnership, the Alameda and Sacramento county governments, with a $2.2 million state grant, and Trilogy Integrated Resources Inc., a private health care consulting and management company, have created a Web site for the aging and disabled. They hope to involve other counties eventually.

The recently debuted Network of Care site (www.networkofcare.org) contains resources, links and information customized for both Sacramento and Alameda and some information that is pertinent statewide.

Trilogy president Bruce Bronzan, a former California state assemblyman interested in issues involving aging citizens, said that information about elderly and disabled long-term care was so fragmented that even service providers sometimes didn't know where to go.

"Unless you have a professional case manager to assist you, it's extremely difficult," he said. The site contains:

    * Links to local and state services and resources.

    * A library of fact sheets, articles and research about diseases, conditions, situations and other topics.

    * A database of more than 18,000 assistive technologies searchable by function, manufacturer and brand name.

    * Links to local, state and federal government agencies and programs.

    * A listing of state legislation pertinent to aging and disability, including a function to automatically e-mail legislators.

    * A password-protected, secure site to keep data, such as contact information for personal doctors and insurance information, private.

    * A listing of articles from newspapers and periodicals updated every day and archived.

There are sections for caregivers, such as parents, spouses or service providers, that contain information pertaining to their responsibilities.

The site was designed with the consumer in mind, said Bronzan, and it's easy to navigate. Design features include viewing text in a larger font and language translation capabilities for Spanish and Chinese Mandarin. Translation capabilities for 14 more languages are planned, he said. There is also a toll-free number so the visually impaired can listen to information.

Sacramento and Alameda counties will test the site, which is still in development, until next summer when the grant runs out, said Bronzan. Then, counties would probably have to pay a fee, still being negotiated between Trilogy and the state.

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